You may not think a white bishop is qualified to speak about racism. But wouldn’t that be racist.
So let me invite you to spend the next seven minutes with me as we discuss two sore and painful topics — the first is racism, and the second I’ll tell you about in a minute.
But before I do, welcome to “Mornings with Bishop Robert,” and thanks for joining me – even on a day we’re discussing racism. My goal is to introduce people to the Jesus they never knew, and help them get to know Him and His word personally – and better ! If our time together today speaks to your heart, then let me ask you to share it with a friend !
Racism is nasty. In my experience it’s a function of which population is in the majority in a given time and place. And yes, I’ve been the victim of racism on number of occasions.
One time I was walking down a street in the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, and I am definitely not able to blend in with a largely Arab population. As my friend and I walked and talked, suddenly he pushed me backwards. A full can of Coke whizzed past my face and hit the ground beside me, popping open and spurting soda pop everywhere. Standing three stories above me, a group of Arab youths stood on the roof of their school, one of them pointing and laughing. He had attacked me simply because I was a white man in an Arab neighborhood walking with a Jewish man at my side. Not the only example I could give, but a good one.
Racists hate people simply because they are not like them. They often know nothing else about them. Racist behavior is utterly without merit, and wholly absent of any redeeming qualities. It makes no difference if the target is black, brown, yellow or white; it’s disgusting and without excuse.
As for me, I’ve got clergy and friends in all of the groups I’ve mentioned. I serve with a South Korean bishop who has spent the last several years working in Jordanian refugee camps for Syrians. I’ve got great relationships with black bishops and white ones all across Africa, Asia and South America. I’ve worked with white Australian Christians serving Jerusalem’s darker-skinned Jews and Arabs, priests in mixed-race marriages, and Arabs who were terrorists before meeting Jesus. And that leads me to my second painful topic – and our verse for today.
Todays verse says THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH, BUT THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD.
The second topic of the day is SIN, and a new word I just made up – GRACIST.
Gracists reach out in love to every element of the population near them, regardless of color, lineage, or any other factor. They do it because God has placed His love for them in their hearts. Mother Teresa was a gracist. So was Billy Graham. In 1963 he gathered the first large-scale integrated crowd in Birmingham Alabama’s history by bringing 30,000 black and white people together for his crusade. In speaking about racism, Billy said, “Only the supernatural love of God through changed men can solve this burning question. Christ was not so much a reformer as He was a transformer.” It is people transformed by grace that are no longer concerned about race.
So, a funny thing I noticed about PLO terrorists is that they hate Israel and Israelis … until they come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. Then God deals with their hatred and and they see things in a totally different light.
Gracists love people simply because they are people; and especially people who need the love of Jesus. They often know nothing else about them. Gracist behavior is relies totally on the merit of Jesus, and is wholly focused on His redeeming qualities. It makes no difference if the person is black, brown, yellow or white; it’s love-driven action reaching out to people who are without excuse — and without any other hope to be freed from their sin.
Are YOU a gracist? Someone who’s always ready to give an answer to anyone who asks the reason for the hope that lies within you? Is your life driven by love and grace.
Racism is sin. But so is a very long list of other selfish, hate-filled and destructive behaviors. The people walking our streets don’t need to be reformed; they need to be transformed by the love of Christ.
Jesus turns racists righteous, and makes terrorists peacemakers. The payment coming for those whose lives are still controlled by sin is DEATH. Jesus offers LIFE, and He gives it as a gift. Jesus is the ultimate GRACIST. And He invites you to follow Him and be set free.
Race and grace are intrinsically related, because there is only ONE race. It is the human race, and we are all together in it. And all of us need Jesus.
Because THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH, BUT THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD